It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #imway 4/20/15


Visit Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers to participate in the kidlit version of this weekly meme.

On the blog:

In reading:


I read a Goodreads review of Michael Cho’s graphic novel, Shoplifter, which called it “inconsequential,” and that word has really colored my thinking about the book. It’s gorgeous and beautifully drawn with a surprising and lovely pink and black color palette. But it was hard for me to care very much about the main character, Corinna, and her small problems. She’s an English major who had big dreams of writing the next great novel but instead finds herself five years after graduation still stuck in an advertising agency job she thought was temporary. She hates her job; she goes home to an empty apartment–well, empty except for Anais, her cranky, vocal cat; she has no real friends, no real connections. I suppose you could argue that her small problems are actually very big existential problems, at least if you’re privileged and urban. To make herself feel something, Corinna shoplifts magazines from her local convenience store. It’s such a small theft that she herself views it as almost inconsequential. The ending wraps everything up with a neat, tidy bow, and Corinna is rewarded, to some degree anyway, when she really hasn’t gone through any character transformation. I don’t know. It was a quick read (under half an hour, I think) and a beautiful book, but I wish there had been more substance.

The picture book reading continued in my house, much to my delight. These were my favorites:

i didn't do my homework becauseI was crazy about I Didn’t Do My Homework Because… written by Davide Cali and illustrated by Benjamin Chaud. It’s a very short, simple little book with a different bizarre and wonderful homework excuses on each page and concludes with a metafictional moment where our protagonist’s teacher explains that she doesn’t believe any of his excuses because she has read this book too. Cali’s writing is a strong mentor text, and Chaud’s illustrations are delightfully whimsical.


I have a feeling I must have read Roger Duvoisin’s Veronica as a child. Veronica is a hippopotamus who wants to be conspicuous, even famous, but in her mud wallow with all her big family of hippos, she doesn’t stand out at all. So she takes herself off to a city where she manages to be very conspicuous indeed. Duvoisin’s illustrations are a huge part of the appeal here. Alternating between black and white and full color illustrations, Duvoisin manages to create a whole believable and delightful world.

the little green goose

Adele Sansone’s The Little Green Goose is such a heartfelt story that was perfect for us this week. It’s about a goose who longs to be a dad. He finds an egg that he coddles and cares for until the most precious little green goose hatches from it. Only the goose is actually a dinosaur who eventually notices that he doesn’t look like his goose dad. He sets off to find his true parents, only to discover that the dad who loves him and takes care of him IS his real dad. What?! An adoptive parent can also be a REAL parent?! My regular readers will understand exactly why I loved reading this story to my son this week.

i wish you more

And then there is Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s I Wish You More, which is perfection. It’s a series of whimsical, lovely, quirky, and deep wishes for a much-loved child. Another book that was important for me to share with my son this week.

just another ordinary day

Rod Clement’s Just Another Ordinary Day describes a perfectly ordinary day in the life of Amanda–only, as the cover suggests, what’s ordinary for Amanda is pretty extraordinary. The juxtaposition of text and illustration is hilarious, as the text is so perfunctory and the illustrations are so outlandish.

gus and me

I was so pleasantly surprised by Gus and Me: The Story of My Granddad and My First Guitar, written by Keith Richards (yes, that Keith Richards) and illustrated by his daughter, Theodora Richards. It’s the story of Richards’s relationship with his grandfather and how he got his first guitar and became a musician. The writing is strong and eloquent, and the illustrations are charming and evocative.





10 responses to “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #imway 4/20/15”

  1. Beth Shaum (@BethShaum) Avatar

    I too was surprised by Gus and Me. Did your copy come with a CD of Richards narrating it? I thought that made it even more special. I loved the musical accompaniment of Malaguena in the background. Got me a little bit choked up.

  2. Kellee Moye (@kelleemoye) Avatar

    That Keith Richards? I’ll just have to get that book! My dad is a huge Rolling Stones fan.
    I haven’t read any of these picture books and all of them look wonderful–I will have to add them to my TBR. Thank you!

    Happy reading this week! 🙂

  3. kelseyempfield Avatar

    I also enjoyed I Didn’t Do My Homework Because…I liked the brevity and creativeness. Although I haven’t read Shoplifter, I hate it when graphic novels aren’t good. It takes so much time, money, and effort to publish graphic novels that I want them all to be wonderful. It’s especially painful when the illustrations are great, but the story falls flat.

  4. Cheriee Weichel Avatar

    I admit that I ignored Keith Richards book just because I thought he might be playing on his name. I’m glad to see that I am wrong. I’ll have to give it a go. I adore the cover of The Little Green Goose. I think I’ll have to find a copy of it. I went searching for a copy of Lewis Tewanima after reading your review. It isn’t in our library system, (I’ve recommended they get a copy) and I can’t get it from our local library supplier and hate that won’t give me a better price for it. Sigh…

  5. Michele Avatar

    I Wish You More really hit me this year. I can’t wait to share it with students in June, but I also bought a copy to give to my daughter. I’m thinking before her next surgery… will share my wishes for her.

  6. Linda Baie Avatar

    I love hearing about all the picture books, Elisabeth, especially The Little Green Goose. I wonder if I’ve told you; my children are adopted too, as are my brother’s. There aren’t too many books like that. Must get I Wish You More!

  7. carriegelson Avatar

    Count me in on the pleasantly surprised by the Keith Richards title. I avoided it for ages because I thought it would be bad but really, so well done. So glad to see you are still on a picture book kick in your house!

  8. The Logonauts (@thelogonauts) Avatar

    Sounds ilke a great group of books this week! So glad you found some that resonated so well for your son too.

  9. Myra GB Avatar

    We have Gus & Me in our library! Woohoo! Will pick it up by this weekend, hopefully. It sounds perfect for our current reading theme too. I love the look of the Benjamin Chaud picturebook. Will have to look for that one.

  10. shannonhorn1 Avatar

    That’s so cool that Keith Richards wrote a children’s book instead of the overused 1,000 page memoir celebrities tend to write. I would love give it a read!

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